What To Expect When You’re Postpartum, Mamalates Style

by Wendy Foster

MAMALATES
Postpartum restoration techniques,
classes, workshops + products.
………………………………………………………….
You have spent so much time planning your birth, taking birth classes, interviewing midwives + OB/GYN’s. Now, your baby is here! You underwent a whirlwind of events, including the marathon of labor, are not sleeping and are lifting, carrying and wearing your new, little One most of the day.  On top of that, you’re exhausted and may not be enjoying this time as much as you had planned because, well, physically, you are wrecked!
You know you need to check in with yourself, recover and restore from pregnancy and your birth– But how?  Where to start? Nobody ever mentioned hemorrhoids, pelvic floor dysfunction, abdominal separation or potential numbness around your C/S scar.  In fact, your healthcare provider may not have checked your abdominals, mention binding or discuss how to begin exercising again in general.

Because I have worked with hundreds of women postpartum for the last seven years, I know this is a common scenario and that most women leave the hospital, birthing center or care of their midwife ill prepared to recover from birth. Here is some essential information + exercise tips to help you navigate your path to recovery. Good luck!

Birth Recovery: The Essentials
These essential tips are designed for all women 1-6 weeks postpartum

Common postpartum physical issues you may be experiencing include:

  • Lack of pelvic + shoulder stability
  • Abdominal separation
  • Pelvic floor weakness
  • Specific cesarean issues
  • Abdominal disconnect
  • Spinal misalignment
  • Flared ribs
  • Pain in neck, shoulders + back

Your job now is to NOTICE what is out of sync, recruit your pelvic floor for all exercises, create a stable foundation to stretch, build strength and restore!

Recovery TIP 1
Get out of your shoulders and into your core!
Arm circles help stabilize your shoulder girdle and stretch across your chest + sternum.

OPTIONAL: Red ball or foam roller

EXERCISE: ARM CIRCLES
Lay on your back with foam roller along entire spine or ball underneath bra strap, knees bent.
Inhale and reach your arms up towards ceiling , back behind you and down towards side.
Keep palms facing up and back for as long as possible to really open up through the shoulders.
Exhale, slide the shoulders down and arms around, hovering above floor.  Keep bra strap and back or ribs connected to roller or floor. Inhale into back of ribs , exhale through mouth.
Repeat 8x then switch directions.

Recovery TIP 2
Stretch your hamstrings! Tight hamstrings can pull on your low back and pelvis. Sitting, feeding/nursing, walking are all activities that can contribute to the shortening of hamstrings.

NEED: Resistance band or towel

EXERCISE: HAMSTRING STRETCH
Lay on your back with one knee bent and one leg straight, up towards the ceiling.                                                                                         Wrap resistance band or towel around base of foot. Reach through the heel and lengthen all three of your hamstrings. Maintain a neutral spine, relax shoulders, breath.                                                          Hold for 15 seconds as you release deeper into the stretch.                                                                                             Switch sides.

(Back side)

Recovery TIP 3
Safely reconnect with your core!
This pillow/ball squeeze exercise is effective for recruiting your transverses (lower abs) which can be especially difficult to locate after birth–especially a cesarean.

NEED: small pillow or red ball between thighs

EXERCISE: BALL SQUEEZE
Lay on your back, knees bent, feet on floor with ball between knees. Make sure back of ribs and brastrap is on floor but that you have a small space in between your low back and floor.
Inhale into back through nose. As you exhale through your mouth, IMAGINE squeezing the ball/pillow with your pelvic floor and lower abs (inner “HOME DEPOT BELT”) only. DO not flatten back to floor or use buns or legs to squeeze. TURN OFF YOUR BIG MUSCLES AND GO DEEP! Do this 10-15 times. Try to isolate your lower abs and pelvic floor. Hint: Image you are squeezing a grapefruit directly behind your belly button.
VARIATION: If you know your abs not separated, bring both knees up to table top. Keep a neutral spine and perform same exercise.

More tips for birth recovery include:

  • Binding from hips to upper ribs- use a moby wrap!
  • Use lower abdominals to lift– on exhale
  • Learn safe exercises for diastasis recti
  • Ask your MD to write a  prescription for PT

Work with a professional to learn proper alignment to get the most out of your recovery program. If you are unsure about any exercise or feel some positions are unsafe, they probably are. The most important thing is to know if and /or how much your abdominals are separated before returning to your regular exercise routine.
Please visit www.mamalates.com for more birth recovery information including VIDEOS, more exercises, upcoming workshops and products.
Through the month of June, mamalates is offering 15% off products on line.
Enter code :ZSNL15
Private sessions, workshops for mom’s groups also available.

Wendy Foster is an internationally certified Pilates instructor and pre/post pilates specialist. She has had both a cesarean and vaginal birth +abdominal separation. She has been teaching Pilates since 1999 and is the founder/creator of mamalates.

www.mamalates.com
wendy@mamalates.com
503-459-8936

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